Contraceptive Patch

What is it?

A contraceptive patch is a small, thin, beige patch which is worn on your skin. The contraceptive patch available in the UK is called Evra.

The patch releases the two hormones oestrogen and progestogen daily and works by:

  • Stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation)
  • Thickening cervical mucus to prevent sperm reaching an egg
  • Thinning the lining of the uterus to stop eggs from implanting
  • A new patch has to be used each week for 3 weeks out of 4. In the fourth week you will have your period

How effective is it?

The patch is over 98% effective when used correctly. This means that less than 2 out of 100 women who use the patch will become pregnant in a year.

What are the advantages?

  • Easy to use
  • You don't have to think about it every day - you only have to remember to change the patch once a week
  • It can make periods regular, lighter and less painful
  • When you stop using the patch your normal level of fertility (ability to have children) will return
  • The patch can protect against cancers of the ovary and uterus

What else should I know?

  • It does not protect you against STIs so always use a condom
  • May not be suitable for some women, a full medical history should be taken
  • It can be seen
  • It may cause skin irritation
  • Be aware that it can fall off, particularly when moisturising the skin
  • You may experience temporary minor side effects such as headaches, sickness, breast tenderness and mood changes
  • May cause irregular bleeding
  • It is important to change your patch each week. If you forget and have had unprotected sex (sex without condoms) you may need emergency contraception . Please seek advice from a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Where can I get the patch?

Find your nearest services using our services page.


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